IBM is calling its new System z10 mainframe a "commercial supercomputer" and hoping that the machine can capture some geek mind share via features such as a quad-core processor that runs at a clock speed 2.6 times faster than the chips in IBM's z9 model could manage.
The z10 is sleek black in color and imperial in stature at a height of 80 inches and a maximum weight of 5,000-plus pounds.
And the system certainly has its ooh-and-ahh elements, including its 4.4-GHz quad-core processor. That compares with the 1.7-GHz single-core processor used in the three-year-old z9. The new system also supports up to 1.5TB of available memory per system and InfiniBand data rates of up to 6GB/sec., more than two times faster than on the z9.
According to IBM, the z10 is designed to run up to 50% faster than the z9 overall and can deliver as much as twice the performance of the existing model on CPU-intensive applications. "
IBM officials took a shotgun approach in their characterizations of the z10, which also was described as a "universal server" at one point. The low-end z10 model starts at something less than $1 million, while a fully loaded model with 64 physical processors can cost in the multiple millions.
When IBM released the z9, a major emphasis for that system was security, encryption and other capabilities for maintaining data integrity. With the z10, a key component of IBM's economic justification for investing in new mainframes appears to be their ability to help IT managers solve a problem increasingly cited as a top data center concern: server sprawl, and the power and cooling issues it presents.
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